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The Defenestrator
November 19th, 2014, 01:13 AM
Modern poetry is much different in style and function than the forms of the past. A lot of poetry is free-verse or entirely unmetered. The poetry of the past focused on stressed and unstressed syllables, rhyme, alliteration, and other metrical tools to create an audible effect as well as an intellectual one; the structure and flow of the verse allowed it to have a beautiful, musical quality to it that some might say modern poetry, with its focus on self expression and lack of metrical attention, lacks.

Now, free-verse and other forms of modern poetry definitely have 'flow' and are meant to be easy to read and say -- but unless it's intentionally lyrical, it's rarely musical. These newer forms of the art may allow the poet more liberty in creating the poem. However, they sometimes seem to me, because of the apparent focus on self-expression, to be very whimsical and arbitrary, and are difficult to critique in an objective fashion - that is, without describing 'how it made me feel' or 'the impression it made on me was..' -- all of which are subjective judgments. Objectivity gives, to me, a sort of credibility to the art form. If there are clear set of objective standards by which an art can be judged, then even if you don't like the message of the poem, you can still recognize the prowess and skill of the poet. In more subjective forms of the art, the poem either speaks to you or it doesn't, and if it doesn't speak to you, there's little basis for you to recognize the skill of the poet.

What do you guys think? If you disagree with me, could you help me out by discussing ways that free-verse-style poems can be viewed objectively? I need some ground to stand on when it comes to judging the quality of my own poetry, and the more I try, the more arbitrary and whimsical the form seems.

Gargh
November 19th, 2014, 01:41 AM
I'm with you, I have to say. Free verse doesn't adhere to a set form, but it should use the same poetic tools of expression that we're used to. These things take a long time to learn though, and initially we may use only one or two techniques, building to a greater level of mastery and so what, in the interim, are these poems? Free verse also seems to be the label that encompasses it all, something to aim for.

Have you read this (http://www.writingforums.com/threads/149887-The-Madness-Vase-by-Andrea-Gibson) by Andrea Gibson that Chester's Daughter shared?

Out of interest, I was wondering myself only a few days ago why poetic discussion doesn't seem to happen much here outside of individual threads. At least, not in the many fevered ways it does for prose. Perhaps it's that poetry always feels so much more personal?

The Defenestrator
November 19th, 2014, 02:16 AM
Wow. I really enjoyed that link. I see what you mean about gaining mastery over more and more tools-- Andrea Gibson certainly seems to have it figured out. Hmmm.

I can see the things she's doing but I'm still struggling to point to them as inherently poetic. What distinguishes her poem from prose with a lot of line breaks? There are parts of the poem where she uses metrical tools, but parts of the poem where that's completely abandoned -- prose does this as well. Maybe I'm being too one-sided on how I differentiate poetry from prose, or maybe I'm just bad at understanding poetry.

Kevin
November 19th, 2014, 04:58 AM
If there are clear set of objective standards by which an art can be judged, then even if you don't like the message of the poem, you can still recognize the prowess and skill of the poet..Objective standards? Hmmm... Purpose and intent. Has the poet drawn a clear linkage, however abstract or obscure? Have they stayed on point? Is there consistency? And if it strays or varies in style, was it done on purpose, with purpose (which may even include free association)? The rules are pretty much the same with prose: tell the story, use the right words, stay on the subject.
In more subjective forms of the art, the poem either speaks to you or it doesn't, and if it doesn't speak to you, there's little basis for you to recognize the skill of the poetI'd have to agree that if you don't connect, you probably won't bother. Then it's all about emotion, or comprehension. You can't fault them for your not connecting, or lack of comprehension, I mean as long as it's not bad English. As far as content...I suppose if they have a unique perspective, something new, that might cross into what could be judged objectivly.

The Defenestrator
November 19th, 2014, 07:39 AM
If the rules are pretty much the same as prose, what differentiates it from prose?

Kevin
November 19th, 2014, 07:56 AM
If the rules are pretty much the same as prose, what differentiates it from prose? Extensive metaphor and a lack of, or extreme brevity of plot. Generally, it's more like a condensation, or distillation to idea or theme. You don't expound on anything except the idea. Prose you may go on and on to 'promote' the theme, often with extraneous sidebar . Poetry you get to it in just a few lines.

The Defenestrator
November 19th, 2014, 08:12 AM
I mean, prose can be powerfully metaphorical as well, and often is. The idea of condensation is interesting though, I'll have to consider that.

Dictarium
November 19th, 2014, 08:13 PM
I very often attempt to adhere to meter, heavy use of figurative language, assonance, consonance, the whole nine yards. Maybe I'm weird though.

Gargh
November 19th, 2014, 08:54 PM
Distillation of ideas in poetry can be taken two ways; one that it condenses a thing, the other that it extracts the essence of it. I think the latter is probably better, leaving more space for connection and interpretation.

For me, poetry uses tools that are exclusive to it,as well as some it shares with prose, to achieve this. They share, for example, metaphor, simile, alliteration, even repetition and theme. You will not, however, find manipulation of metric feet, cadence, assonance, rhyme and rhythm, caesura, and so on in prose. These are devices that demonstrate poetic intent and the desire to express a thought/idea/story, as something other than prose. And here poetry is still very close to music in a way that prose is not.

Dictarium
November 20th, 2014, 02:04 PM
Well you can certainly find assonance in prose and, when done properly, in a not-so-purple fashion.

Blade
November 28th, 2014, 10:38 PM
Objectivity gives, to me, a sort of credibility to the art form. If there are clear set of objective standards by which an art can be judged, then even if you don't like the message of the poem, you can still recognize the prowess and skill of the poet. In more subjective forms of the art, the poem either speaks to you or it doesn't, and if it doesn't speak to you, there's little basis for you to recognize the skill of the poet.

What do you guys think? If you disagree with me, could you help me out by discussing ways that free-verse-style poems can be viewed objectively? I need some ground to stand on when it comes to judging the quality of my own poetry, and the more I try, the more arbitrary and whimsical the form seems.

I think the greatest obstacles you face in establishing objectivity in poetry are diversity and an inherent valuation of subjectivity. If you look at a number of selections in the poetry section you wiil easily realize that comparing even one piece to another is difficult, if not impossible, let alone the entire content of the genre. Differences in subject matter, length , structure and so on leave each work quite unique.

In a real sense a poem is a secret message crafted by a particular writer with some sort of specific intent in mind. Many readers may not 'get it' but hopefully for at least a few it will resonate with perfect clarity.

In all honesty I cannot think of a single poet whose work I uniformly like. Some may have more hits than others and would have to be considered 'objectively' :scratch:accomplished but not infallible.


Distillation of ideas in poetry can be taken two ways; one that it condenses a thing, the other that it extracts the essence of it. I think the latter is probably better, leaving more space for connection and interpretation.

For me, poetry uses tools that are exclusive to it,as well as some it shares with prose, to achieve this. They share, for example, metaphor, simile, alliteration, even repetition and theme. You will not, however, find manipulation of metric feet, cadence, assonance, rhyme and rhythm, caesura, and so on in prose. These are devices that demonstrate poetic intent and the desire to express a thought/idea/story, as something other than prose. And here poetry is still very close to music in a way that prose is not.

:sunny:

How can you tell if a song is going to be a hit? Objectively?